The Long Island GLBT Services Network, which opened a center in Sag Harbor in 2013, received threatening letters at its Bay Shore and Woodbury locations this week that prompted tightened security measures and investigation. The letters used homophobic slurs and contained promises of violence toward the center and CEO David Kilmnick. While the situation is being taken very seriously, the center will carry on programming at all three centers as scheduled. Kilmnick says that all three locations are safe, and that parents should not worry about sending their kids to the center’s drop-in program.
“The East End location has not been mentioned in the threats,” Kilmnick says. “If parents want to bring their kids to the Sag Harbor location—or Bay Shore [for the Friday night youth social program OUTlet]—the centers are safe.” The center is working closely with the Suffolk County Police Department and Hate Crime Bureau to ensure the safety of all involved.
The network is known for OUTlet, formerly known as Club LIGALY (Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth), which is a safe space for youth ages 13–21 to hang out, make friends and be themselves. The Sag Harbor center has a LIGALY Youth Drop-In program Monday–Friday. Kilmnick is pleased with the response to the Sag Harbor center. “People absolutely love that the center is there. We’re hopeful that we’ll have additional [programs] in the future.”
The Sag Harbor center is third center the organization has opened on Long Island. The Network announced plans earlier this week for a GLBT senior citizen housing development in Bay Shore.
“This is the act of a coward,” Kilmnick says. “The intent of the individuals doing this is to put us back in the closet, and that’s not going to happen. In fact, this just motivates us more. These incidents are a stark reminder that no matter the advances in GLBT equality—same sex marriage—it doesn’t translate to safety for our community. This is an eye-opener that we have to continue this work. And we will do that.”